The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club

Alex Bell, illus. by Tomislav Tomić. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0646-9
Twelve-year-old Stella faces several challenges: her white skin and hair set her apart from the black, brown, and pink people who populate her community, and the Polar Bear Explorer’s Club, which she desperately wants to join, does not allow female members. Stella’s adoptive father, Felix, found her abandoned as an infant, and, aside from puzzling scenes in the nightmares she suffers, Stella has no memories of her birth family. When Felix, a renowned explorer, flouts the rules and takes Stella on a joint expedition with the Polar Bear and Ocean Squid Explorers’ Clubs to venture to the coldest part of the Icelands, her adventure begins. After she and three other Junior Explorers are separated from the group, they navigate harrowing encounters—including one with “frosties,” small fairy-like creatures capable of causing killer frostbite—and the even more vexing process of learning to work together. Bell (Frozen Charlotte) meticulously crafts her world, and detailed illustrations perfectly complement the tale. Celebrating kindness and belief in oneself, this satisfying series starter sheds light on Stella’s past just in time to look forward to a second expedition. Ages 8–12. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2018
Release date: 11/13/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-5344-0647-6
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